Ban on Lake Hayes reserve camping

All  overnight camping will be banned at three reserves around Lake Hayes, including the pavilion and show grounds, and a slightly expanded area at the Shotover Delta, from February 16.

Yesterday the Queenstown Lakes District Council voted unanimously to have staff install lockable gates which will restrict vehicles from the areas between 10pm and 5.30am, until its freedom camping bylaw and the Arrowtown Lake Hayes Reserve management plan are reviewed.

Community Services general manager Thunes Cloete told councillors staff hoped to have that work completed in the next six months.

``We are pushing to get it in that timeframe, but we will try and get that as soon as possible.''

Mayor Jim Boult said locking freedom campers out of Lake Hayes and the Shotover Delta, in the interim, was the ``first step'' in a long process seeking to address the negative effects some freedom campers were having on the district.

Cr Calum Macleod said under legislation freedom campers could not be completely banned unless they were having ``specific impacts''.

He believed there was ``an argument that could be made'' around their effect on the district's water quality.

``I fully support bringing back the stocks and throwing their own faecal matter at them,'' he said.

Finance and regulatory manager Lee Webster said the council was continuing to lobby for an amendment to the standard required to meet the ``self-contained'' criteria, valid for three years once issued, he said.

Last month, the Otago Daily Times reported the council had sought for certification to require a ``separate room'' to be considered self-contained, but new standards introduced last year stipulate a vehicle needs to have an inside toilet, able to be used with the bed made up.

``It's a bit of a mockery,'' Mr Webster said yesterday.

``I have been quite open about that.

``We're going to continue pushing that to see if we can get that amended.''

Several people spoke during public forum before the agenda item on freedom campers, including resident Alan Harris, who lives near the banks of the Shotover River, opposite the Shotover Delta freedom camping area.

While he applauded the work the council was doing and the speed at which issues were being addressed, he feared freedom campers would be pushed into other locations.

He detailed observations he had made over five days - watching people washing themselves in the river, from which the occupants of two nearby homes took water; a bag full of ``the previous night's beer bottles'' on the Queenstown Trail; toilet paper in bushes along the trail; and a woman exiting bushes near his home ``and adjusting her trousers''.

``I confronted them afterwards and said, `My property boundary is not your toilet'.''

He noted that the vehicle
the woman went to was not certified self-contained.

Ratepayer Erna Spijkerbosch - who, with her husband Tonnie established the Queenstown Holiday Park and Motels Creeksyde, now known as the Top 10 Queenstown Holiday Park - said part of the issue with freedom campers was the connotations associated with ``free''.

``There is no such thing as free.

``Someone has to pay.

``At the moment it's our environment.''

tracey.roxburgh@odt.co.nz

 

Comments

Strange coincidence how as property values around Lake Hayes have risen, the idea that the plebs could camp on "their" reserves has become unacceptable.
Enough already, take your horrible little colours shelters elsewhere. These aren't public reserves, they belong to the well heeled locals.